A Marked Life

 The Revealer

Mar 4, 2013

His last gesture was that he pointed to me that he had been shot in the back,” Aijaz recalls. “We barely managed to give him a spoonful of water and dragged him into a car. He took his last breath before we reached the hospital.

The Akram family’s house looks like any other in Nawabshah, a city in Pakistan’s Sindh province. Its exterior is made of brick and the lane is cramped because homeowners have expanded their properties, building gates and steps onto the road.

Nawabshah is most widely known as the hometown of Pakistan’s president, Asif Ali Zardari. But over the past few years, it has become known for something else: targeted attacks on families like the Akrams.

On February 29, 2012, 78-year-old Mohammad Akram was killed outside his house in this cramped lane.

Akram had been in the city for five months to spend time with his son and daughter. He had a flight booked for March 12 to Australia, where he had lived since 2005, and he had begun shopping for the trip.

On the day Akram died, his grandson Muneeb Ahmad had been driving him around the city. When he pulled up outside the house, Akram told him to park the motorcycle in a shaded area. As Akram walked towards the gate, gunshots sounded through the lane. Aijaz Ahmad, Akram’s son, ran out to find his bloodied father and his wounded nephew.

“His last gesture was that he pointed to me that he had been shot in the back,” Aijaz recalls. “We barely managed to give him a spoonful of water and dragged him into a car. He took his last breath before we reached the hospital.”

Across Nawabshah, another house has been in mourning since the evening of July 11, 2011. Malik Mabroor Ahmad and his brother were going to their office, where clients were waiting outside to see them. His brother went into the office, and heard the sound of gunfire. Mabroor had reached for his gun, but he wasn’t quick enough firing back.

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